Employment law reforms confirmed in Queen’s Speech

Proposed changes to employment regulations have been announced in the Queen’s Speech, confirming widespread speculation that such measures would be included.

Outlining the Government’s plans for the year ahead, the Queen said that economic growth was a key focus for reform. As part of this, it was announced that: “Legislation will be introduced to reduce burdens on business by repealing unnecessary legislation.”

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill includes a number of measures that the Government says will facilitate business growth by giving employers more confidence to hire new staff. One of these proposals is an overhaul of the workplace dispute resolution system, which, according to the bill, will facilitate the earlier resolution of disputes via a “more efficient and streamlined tribunal system for all users”.

The Bill’s text says that this will be achieved by encouraging “early conciliation”, where all claimants would lodge details of their claim with Acas, giving parties the opportunity to engage in conciliation and renaming compromise agreements as “Settlements”.

The Bill also includes a commitment to “simplifying the regulatory system and giving confidence to business that they will not be held back by outdated and unnecessary legislation”.

In addition, the Bill includes proposals on executive pay, such as handing more power to shareholders and remuneration committees to set executive pay and relating it more closely to business performance.

Also announced in the Queen’s Speech, the Children and Families Bill includes reforms that will have implications for HR. It will allow parents to swap their parental leave following the birth of a child, and mothers will be allowed to return to work earlier following maternity leave by transferring remaining time off to their partners.

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